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Tax Lien Process

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Can someone tell me if the State of California needs to make an attempt before placing a lien on whatever they place it on?

I now live in Idaho. A year ago I received notification that California thought I owed them around $800. I didn't file income tax returns from 1996 - 1999. So I began communicating with them and got my past returne filed, with the exception of 1996 - couldn't find W2s. Refunds were due to me for every year. So they applied them to the 1996 debt. So through several avenues I was able to get my W2s and filed ... they owe me $61.

Here is the problem though, I checked my three credit reports and they have a $8,000 lien from the State of California listed there, all I can figure is major typo adding a zero to make it thousands instead of hundreds. How easy is this going to be taken off? Don't they have to offer you to pay before they place a lien?

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